5 festivals with a fantastic vibe in Bangkok
Thais celebrate their New Year in April, and do so by hosting the world’s biggest water fight. While traditionally a religious holiday in which Buddha images had water poured on them symbolising the washing away of sin, these days it includes water pistols out in the street, with everyone being fair game. Given that it is at the hottest time of year, it’s a welcome relief for most folks.
2) Vegetarian Festival
This festival celebrates the Chinese emperor gods, with much of the city going vegetarian for the week. Of more interest to tourists will be the practices of devotees putting sharp objects through their cheeks and parading through the streets in one of the more macabre rites on the planet.
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3) Chinese New Year
Bangkok’s immense Thai-Chinese community ensures this is one of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in Asia. You can see traditional Chinese opera performed, watch dragon parades, and all of Chinatown turns into a massive street party full of great food and entertainment, with colourful shrines packed with worshippers as well.
4) Rop Bua Lotus Throwing Festival
This festival celebrates the end of the rainy season and pays homage to Buddha images that are carried by boat. What makes it special is that everyone throws lotus flowers at the images and into the canal, turning it into a giant flower throwing melee.
5) Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival
Every March this temple holds a bizarre ritual whereby devotees come to ‘recharge’ their mystical ‘sak yant’ tattoos, purported to protect them from harm. They go into trances, and then proceed to act out their tattoos, which range from tigers to hermits to birds. The temple was made famous when Angelina Jolie got a tattoo here.
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